UPDATED 10.19.2010 6:45pm by Julie Montanaro
A shoot out between a suicidal man and nearly a dozen deputies takes place on Memorial Day. Fortunately, no one lost their life in the shootout and today those lawmen were awarded one of law enforcements highest honors.
Deputies and officers say it all happened so fast. They found themselves under fire and quickly realized their lives were on the line.
Five Leon County deputies and two Tallahassee police officers were awarded the Medal of Valor today.
Back on May 31st, they went to check on the welfare of Jerome Ferrier and when the door to his Owen Street apartment opened, they were met with gunfire.
One deputy was shot, so was Ferrier, but everyone survied.
"Its an eye opening experience. We all realized this is a risk we take every day. This just brings it to reality in a hurry," said Deputy Kevin Shea who was one of the deputies in the doorway that day.
"I started thinking in the back of my mind is this really happening? And before I even had time to figure it out, I was shooting back, and I figured out this was a shoot out, this person was trying to kill us," said Deputy Brandon Cutcliffe who was able to provide cover for the deputy who had been shot.
Lt. Berry Blackburn was shot in the shoulder in the volley of gunfire. He returned to work two weeks later and is back on patrol.
Blackburn says he is grateful for each day and proud that he works with deputies who can keep their cool and maintain their professionalism, even under fire.
Jerome Ferrier is still in jail. His trial is set for November 15.
The deputies and officers knew they were getting some type of recognition today, but did not know they were getting the Medal of Valor until the sherriff started handing out the pins and medals. It is the second highest honor a law enforcement officer can receive, an LCSO spokesman said, the Medal of Honor is the first.
Five Leon County deputies and two Tallahassee Police officers were awarded Medals of Valor for their bravery at a ceremony at TCC this afternoon (October 19).
The deputies who received the awards were LT Barry Blackburn, Sgt. David Graham, Deputy Kevin Shea, Deputy Chetford Wilson, and Deputy Brandon Cutcliffe. The two Tallahassee Police Department officers who received medals were Officer Chuck Perry and Sgt. Brian Davis.
10.19.2010 12:45pm by Julie Montanaro
A ceremony this afternoon will recognize more than a half dozen law enforcement officers who were involved in a shootout with a suicidal suspect on Memorial Day.
Deputies went to an apartment on Owens Street to check on the welfare of Jerome Ferrier, after his girlfriend told them he had sent her a picture of himself with a gun to his head.
Deputies say when a landlord ultimately got a key and let them in, Ferrier responded immediately with gunfire. LCSO says Ferrier fired at least 20 shots that day and one of them struck LT Barry Blackburn in the shoulder.
Deputies responded with at least 75 rounds, the sheriff said. Ferrier was struck in the arm.
The sheriff called it a classic attempt at suicide by cop.
Blackburn recovered and returned to work at LCSO.
Ferrier is still in the Leon County Jail awaiting trial.
The awards ceremony is scheduled for 2pm today at TCC's Student Union Ballroom.